Both the discovery of the DYT1 gene on chromosome 9q34 in autosomal dominant early-onset torsion dystonia and the detection of linkage for one form of adult-onset focal dystonia to chromosome 18p (DYT7) in a family from northern Germany provide the opportunity to further investigate genetic factors in the focal dystonias. Additionally, reports of linkage disequilibrium between several chromosome 18 markers and focal dystonia, both in sporadic patients from northern Germany and in members of affected families from central Europe suggest the existence of a founder mutation underlying focal dystonia in this population. To evaluate the role of these loci in focal dystonia, we tested 85 patients from northern Germany who had primary focal dystonia, both for the GAG deletion in the DYT1 gene on chromosome 9q34 and for linkage disequilibrium at the chromosome 18p markers D18S1105, D18S1098, D18S481, and D18S54. None of these patients had the GAG deletion in the DYT1 gene. Furthermore, Hardy-Weinberg analysis of markers on 18p in our patient population and in 85 control subjects from the same region did not support linkage disequilibrium. Taken together, these results suggest that most cases of focal dystonia in patients of northern German or central European origin are due neither to the GAG deletion in DYT1 nor to a proposed founder mutation on chromosome 18p but must be caused by other genetic or environmental factors.